Thursday, March 29, 2007

pumping according to Dyami

Dyami's thought when he heard the pump start last night:
"Hmmm. Is she listening to dance music or something?"
Old thinking: pump monotony. New thinking: techno dance party!

oh, and...

Regarding the Real Mom's post: I would tag people, but I only read two blogs. One is the one that tagged me; the other has already been tagged. So there.
So if you're reading this, and you are a mom, real or otherwise, consider yourself tagged! Go! Blog like the wind!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I borrowed a breast pump from my friend Susan and tried it for the first time today. It took me months to ask if I could use it, a few weeks to pick it up, a few days to try it, and only two pumpings to decide that it's a complete pain in the ass.
Ladies, those of you who actually have to do this for your babies, my hat is off to you.
The idea was that if I could pump a little bit, Dyami might be able to rock her to sleep. Or we might be able to go out to dinner without worrying as much about her waking up.
I would like those things, but it is so not worth the effort to pump.
First off, you have to sterilize all the equipment. My first pumping I ran like a hospital with tongs and clean towels. Second pumping i was a bit more laissez faire, but still careful. I bet moms that pump at work are using the paper towels in the office bathroom to wipe out the bottles for use. Geez, sterilizing is a pain in the butt.
And then there's the actual sitting there with the suction things chomping at your nipples. It's not painful, but neither is it pleasant. First time, I thought, "well, it's not great, but it's not terrible, either." Second time, I think my breasts remembered the sensation, because it was a lot more uncomfortable.
Total time spent was probably nearly two hours (what with cleaning preparing and pumping) and I got a whopping one ounce of breastmilk! I'm sure if I were diligent and kept at this every night, I could work up to more, but I have other things to do with my time.
But to be honest, I'm glad I tried. Now I know that I don't want to, and that I'm not just crazily stubborn or idealistic or anything. Pumping sucks.
Ha! pumping sucks! How true!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


So my friend Melissa (aka Hack Mommy) tagged me for the Real Moms meme. (I know, I know, I don't really know what that means, either, but it's all technofancy and such and I'm honored and etcetera). I gather that this means I post something witty/profound about what real moms do. I link to the Real Moms site (not once, but twice! what can I say? I'm an overachiever) Then I get (hopefully) included in a cool list of other things moms do.

So. Real moms wash lettuce.

In my case it was two large heads of green leaf, and one head of romaine. This is the second week in a row I have washed lettuce. Growing up, washing lettuce was one of my least favorite chores, along with cleaning the cat litter, so now I'm more of the 'buy it pre-washed and bagged at Trader Joe's' type of girl.
So why am I washing it now? I've joined a CSA.
A CSA is a Community Supported Agriculture group, which means I get a box full of produce from Be Wise Ranch farm in San Diego. They include what is in season, and what they are picking that week. They apparently have several acres of lettuce, because we have a lot of lettuce. Last week I gave away half of our lettuce to my salad-friendly parents, and we still had a half a head of green leaf and half a head of romaine left to finish when I went to pick up our box this week.
So imagine my delight when I opened up our box and found three more heads of lettuce!
I'm a reasonably inventive cook, and I like vegetables, and I am willing to make a variety of dishes from one vegetable (mashed, roasted, scalloped turnips! Roasted, sauteed, chopped chard!), but see, there isn't much to do with lettuce except make salads. A lot of salads. Salads when we already have a lot of other vegetables to eat!
Now don't get me wrong, I think the CSA is the way to go for us right now. I like that we're supporting local farmers, and not buying packaging-heavy, pesticide-laden produce that has been picked six months ago and shipped from China. I hope my daughter inherits a world where you might actually meet the farmer that grew your lettuce, rather than finding out on the news that the arugula you just ate might be infected with e coli because all greens move through a central plant in Nitpick, Idaho for washing in central, bacteria-friendly tubs.

But this idealism means a lot of lettuce leaves. I filled one side of our sink with cold water, and floated each head of lettuce inside. Cut the cores and watched the milky juice ooze out. Observed the lovely roseate pattern of the core. Swished off the bugs (one of which was still alive--a good sign, I think), threw the wet leaves into my salad spinner, and spun off the excess water. Placed the leaves onto paper towels, wrapped up the bundle, and put it lovingly into a plastic bag.

Well, that was for the first head of lettuce. I got a lot less loving on heads 2 and 3.
Ah, good intentions. Sometimes the attractiveness of idealism goes down the drain with the lettuce bugs and the sandy soil from my local farmer.
So real moms wash that damned lettuce. Even if real moms resent the lettuce while they're doing it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

more skills

I kept tuning in to the two blogs that I read, and for a while neither of them had written anything. For shame! People, don't you know I need the entertainment in the morning to go along with my Empress Tea and Dear Abby?
Then I realized I hadn't written anything myself in days.

So this is what's new on the home front. Lucy's sleep schedule is all over the map, but it's not a bad all over the nap (her night time sleep has actually been better! and it wasn't bad before!). It's just unpredictable. And she has a pincer grip now! Which means she can pick up all of the lint on the floor and put it in her mouth! And I just thought we weren't going to start solids for a while!

She is also pulling herself up onto things, like the low hearth in front of our fireplace and our friend Chris's legs. Gosh, this little girl is strong.

And finally, occasionally she tips her head back and forth, like Indians do when they're nodding yes. Not sure what she's agreeing with, but it's darn cute!

See, this post isn't very witty, but it's chock-full of info about Lucy! Which makes it interesting!
Okay, people, you get what you pay for.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Humble Pie

For those of you avid readers out there (Surely there are dozens...? A dozen? Three?) I want to prepare myself a hearty dish of humble pie. A while ago I wrote a scathing post about a doctor's office experience. A very scathing post. I didn't mention the doctor's name, but it has come to my attention that he (gulp) saw the post. And was understandably hurt, since he saw that before he got my (much more reasonable) letter outlining some concerns I had about my experience.
Now, this doctor is a nice guy. And his staff is nice. And I might have had some frustrations with them, but they were always respectful to me. Even when pointing out how I wasn't respectful on a public, only somewhat-anonymous forum.
It turns out writing things in anger isn't so cool.
Especially on a blog.
So here is my public apology. I have also deleted that earlier, rather ugly post. I am sorry, and I hope this apology goes some way to making things right.
Sigh. I kept wanting to know if people were actually reading this thing. I just didn't imagine that it might be a _bad_ thing.
Mmmm. This pie is, um, tasty? Well, it makes me feel better, and that's something.

Monday, March 19, 2007


My cousin Melissa (we call her Missy) brought over some hand-me-down baby clothes on Saturday. I was very grateful for them, because Lucy has actually grown out of some things and threatens to keep growing. (For those of you who don't read my blog regularly (for shame!) I was sort of contemptuous of baby clothes a few months ago, just because the influx of clothes after her birth was so overwhelming. Luckily the spigot seems to have slowed to a more manageable trickle). I was contemplating buying clothes. Gasp!!
Anyway, she brought over a whole big bag of beautiful clothes, many of which featured cute lace, nice fabrics, ribbons, embroidery, etc. They were all in good condition.
So what do I do? I get churlish about the whole thing, of course.
Not because of Missy--I really truly appreciated the gift. And the clothes themselves are useful.
I got surly because I finally realized why baby clothes are so annoying.
See, instead of having separates, like normal clothes, where one top might match another bottom, baby clothes are super matchy-matchy. Little dresses paired with matching bloomers. Cute tops with exactly matching bottoms. Or the truly horrific combination: matching onsie, hat, pants, socks and baby blanket. AHHHHHH!
This increases the volume of the number of clothes you actually need to make a wardrobe. Instead of having, say, three pairs of pants and ten shirts you can mix and match, you have twenty pants and forty shirts, none of which go with each other.
It's even worse with baby socks. Then you have twenty different pairs that you have to keep straight. That means the washing machine isn't allowed to eat any and you can't accidentally leave one on your friend's lawn (as I did the other day) or on the floor of a restaurant (this also happened). Or that they aren't allowed to fall off (ha! my side!) We went from ninety pairs (mostly hand-me-down) to twenty when I gave some of them back to the people who let us borrow them (I thought ninety pairs was too many! How naive!). Now we're down to five single non-matching socks. So I bought ten pairs of identical white socks at Target. I wish they had generic pants and shirts to go with them.
Actually, that's not entirely true. I do think the clothes are lovely, and now that Lucy's getting slightly easier to dress (she can sit up while I pull stuff over her head!) I am more into clothes in general. Plus I am not sleep-deprived. When you are sleep-deprived, the baby clothes madness seems like a cruel joke.
So now that the larger clothes are organized into sizes and packed away for later, and the currently-fitting ones are tucked into baskets on Lucy's changing table, I am much less churlish and surly*. I even put her into cute clothes for church! Little jeans, a hoodie, and a flowered shirt! She looked adorable! Until the pants got wet in the sink in the changing room and then she was just in a diaper and shirt and hoodie after the service, when everyone actually saw her.

*Confession: I mostly just wrote this post for the chance to use "churlish" and "surly" several times. Don't those words just roll off the tongue?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

this and that

I was going to post yesterday but never got around to it. Subject: the breast infection that wasn't. I nipped the darn thing in the bud, using baby contortion exercises that Lucy seemed to have fun with. My midwife told me to get rid of plugged ducts by pointing the baby's chin at the blockage; yesterday that meant Lucy draped over my shoulder while I lay on the floor. This is a lot easier to do now that she can hold her body and head up. I tried it with a six-week old and wondered what the hell my midwife was talking about.
But now that it's not yesterday anymore, and is fast approaching tomorrow, I have other subjects on the brain.
One. Bedtimes seem to be taking longer. This may be due to Lucy's development--she's probably on the verge of walking or something--or it could be due to the time change. We have not changed her schedule one whit--just the clocks have changed. But I Think She Knows. Somehow. She's been cranky the last two days and I think she figured out that the world is kind of wacky. That's one smart kid.
Two. Dyami rode his bike to the train station today. And then biked from Sorrento Valley to work. I am extremely proud of him; he's athletic, but not super active nowadays, since he has to sit at a desk most days and help me do baby care the rest of the time.
Three. We joined a CSA! Strawberries are comin'! Strawberries are comin'!
Four. And slightly more serious. I had one of my Sunday afternoon melancholies this week. It's just hard adjusting to motherhood. It's hard not feeling isolated. I have made some dear new friends, but they are all still *new* and my old friends are still my friends but they are all *old* (ie, from my old life) and no one fits just right yet. Or perhaps I don't fit anything quite right yet. And I can do *more* than I could a few months ago, but it's still not very much. I would love to serve at church somehow, or serve in San Diego somewhere, but really, I am serving at home right now and that has to be enough. Constraints! I feel like Black Beauty, learning to take the bit for the first time. I am not used to not having the use of my head.
I am trying to be patient. I lived abroad in Argentina years ago, and I remember feeling exactly this way for months--except worse. I think I didn't have a real conversation with anyone for about three months. (No exaggeration--I started talking to myself while I walked because I just had so many words to use up and no one to give them too. People looked at me funny). And by six months, I had some friends, but only sort of. But by ten months I had a whole life that was wrenching to leave. And friends that I still keep in contact with today. So I can expect that this foreign experience will take time to develop, too.
And I'm lucky enough to have a husband who comes home to me every day, and familiar faces around every week, and my own bed and house, and a car, and a beautiful daughter. All much richer and more comforting than my rented room in Buenos Aires with walls I papered with magazine clippings to keep me company.
But still. It sucked to wait for a life then, and it sucks now.
I want a life. It's official!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

an official person

I went down to Vital Records today and got Lucy's birth certificate. I had prepared for the journey as if for safari, making a list of things I'd need, packing the car the night before, preparing lunch, taking a sweater in case I was cold, leaving the house an hour before the appointment.
See, Lucy doesn't usually like the car, and it was a forty minute drive one-way. Last time I traveled in the car with her that long, she screamed most of the way home. It was not pretty. And I nearly got in an accident.
Today was golden. She cried, but not in an "I'm being tortured and am going to implode if you don't stop the car now" sort of way, but in an "I'm upset that we're in the car and I'm crying and oh, look, there's my Raggedy Ann doll. Oh, Raggedy Ann. Hmmm. What was I talking about, again?" way.
So I met our midwife there, who was there to corroborate the fact that Lucy was born at home (in the certificate, it had a space to write where Lucy was born and where she was intended to be born. Our address, labelled "Residence", was in bloth places. Cool, huh?) Andrea, my midwife, brought along her two kids because her three-year-old, Talon, was sick and didn't go to preschool. Talon is a pretty bad-ass name, no? No one is going to beat up a kid named Talon. Anyway, he was in a lovely mood. He stomped around the little interview room and said, "I'm gwumpy. And angwy."
"Well. Those are big emotions," his mom said, helpfully.
"Hmph," he said.
And then they gave me the little piece of paper that said Lucy was an official person, with her full name and birthdate and time and everything on it.
Social Security is next. Gulp. I've heard that's not fun. But at least now I know we can leave the house without me putting me and my daughter in mortal danger from being distracted. And that she can fall asleep in her car seat without too much of a fuss. My God! I might actually leave north county again!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


I kind of have nickname envy.
I have a new friend, Abi, who has a very cute daughter, Ginger. Abi calls her daughter "Little Bear". I mean, how cute is that?
My inspired nickname for Lucy is "Sweet Baby". Yawn.
Dyami calls her "Lucia, Bambina" (usually followed with "Te amo")
My friend Jerusha thought a lot about her kids' nicknames. Her eldest daughter is "Love Bug". (all together: awwwww!) The youngest, Jasmine, is Jazzy Jazz. So appropriate!
Lucy's name is a nickname. So maybe I am more inspired than I think.

I really like her name: Lucia, pronounced the Italian way. With Lucy for every day. But even that has its problems.

First, Dyami's mom expressed the worry that we would never call her Lucia, except when she was in trouble. "It's such a beautiful name," she said. "It would be a shame for her to only associate it with punishment."
And Dyami's eldest brother, Jamie (named James, after their dad), said, "So she's going to have a nickname for her name, huh?" Apparently he sometimes has issues with his own name.
Sigh. That's what we get for not consulting everyone before naming her. (Oh, wait. That's why we didn't consult everyone before naming her).

Finally, no one is going to pronounce Lucia with a "ch" sound. It will be the Spanish Lu-see-ah, every time. We decided we were okay with this, pre-official-naming, because we like that pronunciation as well, but your name is your name, and it sucks to correct everyone (not that I'd change it, but it is a downside). This problem kind of reminds me of when D and I went to Italy to these cool coastal villages, Cinque Terre, pronounced Chinqua Terra. We sat next to some Canadian students on the train there, and they pronounced it "Sinky Terry".

Yikes. From Cinque Terra to sinky terry. They don't call them the "Romance" languages for nothin'.
Actually, maybe that could be Lucy's new nickname!

Sunday, March 4, 2007


I keep watching my child want things. This has been happening for several months, especially since she got more mobile, with her cute little Marine Corp wiggle. But she's better at possessing things.
This is especially clear on the potty, since
a) we spend a lot of time there
b) I'm interacting with her
c) I'm watching her face in a big mirror
d) she has her hands free
e) I leave an array of safe objects around on the counter for her to grab.

I do e) because if there aren't safe objects, she goes for
1) her diaper (hmmm. not so clean)
2) the little washcloth we use to wipe her bum with (also not so clean)
3) the faucets (cute, but sort of hard to hold her when she launches her self over to the side or to the front in order to possess them).

She has perfected the lunge towards objects, which on the potty is sort of a flailing hand motion. What's sad at this point is that her hand motion is usually so agitated or excited that she ends up pushing the item further away from her.

Here are the items I keep on the counter.
1) Stuffed pink lamb with a music box inside. It plays "Baa Baa Black Sheep" or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or the alphabet song, which ever you like. (had you noticed that all three of these songs had the same tune? I had not, until we got this toy. Call me unobservant. It seems like cheating that they all have the same melody. These are classic children's tunes. Don't they deserve their own music? Come on, people who put children's rhymes to music!!!)
2) Little plastic doozywhatsit that has kind of a red dice looking thing in the middle, with plastic tubing poking out of it. It rattles, too. Hard to explain, but the plastic is soft, and very grabbable, and it is washable. So if it falls in the potty it's no big deal. Not so true of the pink lamb.
3) Giraffe rattle. Soft and not very washable.
Note: The reason I have the soft/unwashable toys by the toilet is because I am holding the child, and when she picks up the hard plastic toys and gyrates, they hit me. This is a strong child. So I quickly decided that hard plastic was no go. That's why we like the doozywhatsit.
4) Spray bottle of water. Dyami uses this because he is too lazy to iron (and I don't judge him, because I am too). So he spritzes his chintz or whatever to get (most) of the wrinkles to fall out of it. And it doesn't seem to have any protruding/dangerous parts, and it's filled with water, and it looks adult and not toyish, so she's fascinated by it. And I do use a spray bottle every few days, so I think she's convinced by this one.
Note: For those of you without children, very small babies like things best that are not toys, but valuable/breakable/dangerous household objects. Ie, cell phones, cordless phones, digital cameras, flame-throwers, nunchucks. Lucy loves (loves) the cordless phones.

So Lucy lunges after all these things, and I try my best to keep her away from the butt wipe and the diaper and the faucets and the hairdryer. This child gets such a mad look in her eye when she's flapping her hand around trying to get to one of the items. Then she gets, say, a rattle, and she flails it. Very happily.
Ah, desire. So easily met at this age. So entertaining.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I feel sorry for our cat.
Eleanor is a very doglike cat I've had since Dyami and I were dating. She loves sitting on laps, having her belly scratched, and coming when she's called. (She also, appropriately for the cat of a writer, loves playing with pens. Go figure.)
She can be a little bit on the needy side. For example, she's indoor/outdoor--meaning, of course, that she wants to come in or go out five minutes after she was last in or out. We used to leave the door open for her, but various small woodland creatures (and Zizo, our friendly neighborhood mystery cat) have come into our house. Once we had a baby possum under our dishwasher that Dyami tried to get out with a remote controlled car. It didn't work.
So the doors stay closed.
Also, if she has been neglected for a while (say, we've gone on a trip) she gets sort of demanding. If you start petting her and then stop, she will swipe at your legs, claws extended, to protest. Or, if she's settled onto our bed and you try to move her, it's not pretty.
Since Lucy was born, Eleanor has been sorely neglected. All the time. This has only made her more needy.
And, unfortunatly, she is scared of children. And babies.
She has swiped at a few young friends of ours, so now we tell children to stay away from her.
This wasn't so much of a problem when Lucy was immobile: Eleanor gave her a wide berth for the first few months, which actually was great, since everyone worries about cats smothering babies. But now that Lucy is mobile, and getting faster, Eleanor's child phobia is becoming a problem.
They have had several cat/baby encounters recently, and none of them make me feel confident about leaving them in a room alone.
Lucy really is intrigued by Eleanor. When she sees her walk by, she gets this wild grin on her face and starts lunging in Eleanor's direction.
I hover close to Lucy.
Eleanor, being starved for attention, ignores Lucy and tries to hover close to me.
It's an explosive combination.
One day, I was sitting on the floor, cat on one side, baby on the other. I wanted to see if Eleanor would be more calm with me close by to prevent the possible fur grabbing or tail assaulting that might occur.
Lucy, wild-eyed, tried inching her way over my legs. Eleanor crouched, seemingly calm, as I petted her. I kept my knees raised a tad, to keep Lucy from really getting to close.
It seemed okay, until the moment that Eleanor swiped at Lucy's face.

Since that time, I have not been as fond of our cat. And I definitely get mother bearish if she's in the room. And I pay even less attention to her and sort of rudely dump her outside if she gets to close to my kid.
So poor Eleanor. She's kind of neglected.